Friday, December 09, 2005

vivi goes to the eye doctor

Almost two years ago, I had my eyes checked for the last time in the States. I've been wearing glasses since I was a freshman in high school and have never made the transition to contacts because NOTHING TOUCHES THE EYES. I have a small thing about that. Anyway, at that time, I was told that I should be sure to have my eyes checked every year because he found the pressure in my eyes to be unusually high for someone my age and I was in danger of developing glaucoma well before my time. Since my grandmother suffers from glaucoma (she's been having to "do her eyes," or perform her regiment of eye drops, every day for as long as I can remember) and I know a little about it, this was not exactly welcome news. I filled my prescription for new glasses and went on with my life, with this little worry floating around in the back of my mind.

Earlier this year, in the middle of bugging Steph to help me make an appointment here to have my eyes checked (my fear of talking on the phone has not improved much since), I was put off this task because of my mother's failing health and flying back home to be with my family as she lost her battle with Scleroderma. Once I returned to France and tried to move on, the first thing on the agenda was to finally make an appointment, and when we finally did, it was for six months later. I've been grinning and bearing it ever since, because I've been experiencing headaches and pressure in my eyes for quite some time when I sit in front of the computer too long or read to long without a break.

My day finally came last week, and I anxiously drove to Troyes for the appointment - I was way too early because I wasn't sure where the office was, and there was no way I was going to miss my appointment only to reschedule and wait another six months! Having learned from my previous doctors visits, I greeted the doctor and explained that my French isn't perfect, but if she spoke slowly I would be sure to understand. She was extraordinarily kind, and I understood everything, which was a relief. I explained (in my halting French) what the doctor had told me in the states and about my headaches, and she got straight to business. After examining my current prescription, she had me try a couple of different lenses, and as I looked across the room at the eye chart, the pressure in my eyes simply melted away. It was the strangest feeling! Imagine my shock when she told me that my current prescription is simply too strong!

I had another surprise coming to me: she did the pressure test - this test is the same everywhere, in which a puff of air is shot into your open eye at high speed and you can imagine that I find this test to be very uncomfortable to say the least because, as I said before, NOTHING TOUCHES THE EYE - and she found that the pressure in my eyes is completely normal. I could fly back to the States and throttle that doctor for making me worry so much all this time!

So Wednesday, I dragged Steph with me to the eye glass shop here in our village, so he could help me pick out a new pair of frames. We agreed on a modestly priced pair and sat down with the sales rep to hand over my new prescription and do the paperwork. I am not even kidding you when I tell you that my new glasses are easily TWICE what I paid for my current glasses back in the States. The price of the frames was only a quarter of the total price, so even if we'd chosen a less expensive set, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. We could damn near pay our rent with what we're paying for these glasses. The blow is slightly lessened by the fact that I get a second pair free (I admit that I always wanted a pair of prescription sunglasses), but I still walked out with a sick feeling in my stomach. It's a good thing I'm happy with the frames I chose, because I believe I'll be wearing them for the next ten years or so!

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